From the AP via Salon:
U.S. officials say the Army private suspected of giving classified data to WikiLeaks is being moved to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas in the wake of international criticism about his treatment during his detention at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va.
The phrasing here is a little ambiguous — does “in the wake of” mean “because of”? If so, it’s not clear why moving Manning to Ft. Leavenworth is an appropriate response to the controversy over Manning’s treatment. Wouldn’t a more appropriate response be for Pres. Obama or Sec. Gates, both of whom are obviously aware of the issue, to give clear orders establishing guidelines for how to handle this unique detainee, perhaps affirming both the specific principle of the assumption of innocence before trial and the general principle of treating all prisoners humanely and with dignity?
I can only think of two reasons to move him at this point. One is to get him out of northern Virginia and away from the D.C. sphere of influence, possibly to make him less noticeable. I find it hard to believe that would actually work, but who knows? Perhaps they’re right and political reporters and activists in the capital will tend to forget about him once he’s a little further away.
The other reason might be that his relationship to the Marine guards at Quantico is so degraded that officials think he’ll be harmed, in which case it would be a very good idea to ask how that state of affairs came about and how to keep the same thing from happening at Leavenworth. If Manning is exceptionally irritating, or if Soldiers and Marines are exceptionally prone to see him as a traitor from their ranks, simply shuffling him around from facility to facility is not likely to solve the problem.